Does torture work?

Now this is a topic depending on how you feel towards it can go two ways…one being that torture as a whole should be outlawed because of the potential extremes of its nature or two your perception on torture will change and in doing so your opinion on whether it works or not will too. 


This blog will go into explore whether torture is right or wrong depending on the variables but the most important question is does torture work in essence for what it was designed for, so Just for a moment i will need you to imagine a world where there was no moral, lawful or constitutional issues with torture (i know hard right).

Background of torture

Torture is the act of inflicting serve pain whether physical or mental as a means of punishment, revenge, forcing or confession or could be quite frankly put as an act of cruelty for the sadistic gratification of the torturer! 


Examples of torture

There are many forms of torture ranging from subtle to extreme gruesome and bloody means but torture is not a new concept that has just been brought to light since 9/11 and Guantanamo Bay detention camp…it dates back to medieval times. In does dark time torture was seen as the norm for punishment of crime so as to the criminal a lesson not to commit crime again! A lot of famous kings, queens were known for their quite gruesome torture methods but more evidently the reason why they did these deeds. Even a small crime would be punished by torture because back then it was deemed to be the most effective way to deliver a message and maintain order in their kingdoms, so showing example to the rest of the society it would serve as a warning and scare people not to fall out of line.

It was used by religions to convert what they believed to be pagans or devil worshippers to the right path or confess their unholy ways.


Till this day a lot of communist country still believe and keep these belief that torture for the good of the many is acceptable and to protect their kingdom at any cost. A lot of other countries however with the introduction of human rights do not always agree with these methods and believe that torturing is wrong and inhuman. 

Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi believed that through torture was the only way of truly protecting and maintaining order in their country. Even though it could be argued that they exploited their powers to maintain the rule over their country it also raises the question of its effectiveness…they did remain in power uncontested for a long period of time. Maybe because of their fear they installed through torture and the examples of what would happen if you opposed them…whether wrong or right the main question to be answered is was it effective?


Both leaders were eventually toppled and removed from power with the aid of America however this raises another question…if America war on terror never reached foreign soil do you think the countries own people would have still been successful in removing the dictators from their thrones or would they still be reigning today…Interesting?

Americans and torture


With the war on terrorism being on high alert America decided maybe it was time to get tough on terrorist, not just in terms of airport security and protecting their country but on the terrorist and their punishment towards terrorists.

There were many reasons for this:

  1. Timely information needed to prevent another 9/11 or capture wanted terrorist
  2. The specific terrorists that are captured with the act of terrorism lose their human rights and so punishment is acceptable
  3. Americans may also argue that no amount of torture done will ever amount to what terrorist have brought upon the world
  4. Torturing to abstract information from terrorist is allowed and may lead to new information that could help end the war on terror

Then again there are people who have seen the pictures of these prisons and the corruption that goes on in these camps, so therefore argue that:

  1. Lowers them down to the same level as terrorists on a moral level
  2. May lead to weakening of international law meaning a tit for tat torturing of prisoners.
  3. It could prove to does that have anti-America that they were right to think that way about the country.
  4. People will eventually become sympathetic to the terrorist and see them as human beings being tortured
  5. Other non torture methods which are just as effective
  6. Torture can lead to false information…to say anything to end their suffering.
  7. Terrorist could potentially choose death over getting capture or tortured which could lead to more deaths and incidents to avoid capture.
  8. The chance of torturing an innocent person is always there!


The imagery found about what was going on in these camps greatly shed light on the issue of torture and showed that it didn’t really matter who carried it out…there was always a potential that torture could be taken too far even in America (which was a little embarrassing for them).

However since the 9/11 and a lot harsher rules have been implemented there has never been another 9/11 attacks to date on American soil. This could be due Americas new zero tolerance measures and the information and intelligence that they have gathered through these camps which they have used to prevent any future attacks on home soil.

Is it the act, the action, the actor the definitive factor?

We can argue to the reasons as to why we shouldn’t or should torture, whether you can justify it or not, however you got to ask your self what is really the issue that here that people don’t agree with. Is it the person who carried out the torture such as Saddam Hussein who was seen as a villain to the wide world so the act of torture world is deemed evil if done by someone corrupts in power?

Is it the action of torture and how you go about conducting the deed because there are many ways to torture but there are some really gruesome and extreme ways that people really are sensitive to and don’t agree to. That’s when it starts becoming more sadistic and for peoples pleasure.


Or is it just the act itself that you may not agree with at all. Torture in itself as the act of inflicting pain to others…if you are humanitarian then this will never settle with you! Causing harm to others is never acceptable regardless of the reason for it!

Or is it just the act itself that you may not agree with at all. Torture in itself as the act of inflicting pain to others…if you are humanitarian then this will never settle with you! Causing harm to others is never acceptable regardless of the reason for it!


 At the end of the day we must remember no matter how you feel about torture you got to remember what the question is…it wasn’t whether torture is right or wrong but more of whether torture works? That question if you check through history and do your research you may find your answer and so be prepared…you may not like what you find.


Clement. Boateng


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